Empire actor Jussie Smollett is no longer facing 16 criminal charges after Chicago prosecutors suddenly dropped the case on Tuesday.
CBS Chicago is reporting that the judge in the case has also granted a motion to seal the case, meaning the details behind the agreement to drop the charges will be kept hidden from the public, unless Smollett, his attorneys, or Chicago law enforcement decide to release details at a later date.
Smollett was previously facing multiple charges for allegedly lying to police about a hate crime, which he said occurred on January 29. Jussie Smollett, who is gay and black, initially said two men attacked him on the street, put a noose around his neck, and said “this is Trump country.” However, police accused Jussie Smollett of staging the attack with the help of two brothers, Abel and Ola Osundairo, who also worked with him on the set of Empire.
According to Chicago police, the actor was upset about his salary level on Empire and staged the attack as a way of getting publicity. Smollett repeatedly denied all of the accusations and stood by his version of events.
“Jussie Smollett is angered and devastated by recent reports that the perpetrators are individuals he is familiar with,” his legal team stated after the initial accusations came to light. “He has now been further victimized by claims attributed to these alleged perpetrators that Jussie played a role in his own attack. Nothing is further from the truth and anyone claiming otherwise is lying.”
Empire creator Lee Daniels dropped Smollett from the final two episodes of the current season of Empire amid the controversy.
“These past couple of weeks have been a freaking roller coaster,” Daniels said in an Instagram video about the Smollett case. “We have, me and my cast, have experienced paid and anger and sadness and frustration and really don’t know how to deal with it.”
“This was not what the show was made for,” Daniels continued. “The show was made to bring America together… to talk about the atrocities that are happening right now in the streets.”
Tom Cahill is a contributor for Grit Post who covers political and economic news. He lives in Bend, Oregon. Send him an email at tom DOT v DOT cahill AT gmail DOT com.